Using a policy/procedure is a good place to start when you address the issues surrounding the Occupational Health and Safety of visitors to your site. Such a policy will not only protect visitors but also positively contribute towards the Health and Safety of your employees and the workplace in general.
It is important to understand that visitors wandering through your workplace do pose a risk. Not only can visitors distract employees from their work, which could cause an incident, but the visitors themselves could be exposed to hazards of which they may not be aware.
Although you might consider it as an unlikely scenario, people from outside entering your workplace increase the risk of theft, violence, industrial espionage or even sabotage.
In order to maintain security, avoid distractions, protect the confidentiality of company operations, and to maintain Health, Safety and Environmental objectives, a policy providing direction will be required.
Visitor Health and Safety Policy
Policies providing guidance on Visitor Health and Safety don’t have to be detailed to be effective. When drafting or reviewing your policy, consider the following issues:
- Visits by nonemployees: You might want to state the conditions under which such visits will be authorised.
- Authorization procedures: Who will authorise visits and what is the procedure for getting authorisation?
- Identification of Off-limit areas: Identify areas that are off limits to visitors (e.g., confidential records, equipment, computer network, critical operational areas).
- Visitor Identification: All visitors must sign in and out. If they do not, how are you going to know who are on site in case of an emergency? Must visitors wear identification badges or passes? Must they be escorted by a supervisor or guide?
- Heightened requirements. Are there times when you need to increase restrictions? Are there requirements for visits after hours, while key operations or processes are in progress, during holidays and weekends?
- Visits by employees after business hours: Do you require regular employees’ access to the workplace to be restricted after hours. What procedures should be followed by an employee who has a legitimate reason to visit the premises after work hours?
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Is it necessary for visitors to supply their own PPE or will the company provide the equipment? What happens if the visitor does not abide to PPE requirements?
- Vendors, suppliers, and contractors: Are vendors and others required to sign-in? Is there a color-coded badge? Are they escorted everywhere? Is their access limited?
- Temporary employees: Will you be treating temporary staff just like regular employees or will other guidelines be needed?
- Visits by friends and family members. Will you allow your staff to bring friends and family members into the workplace?
- Equipment: What will the procedure be when a visitor needs to bring equipment onto the site? Will you limit the use of cameras and camera phones? How will you verify that it is indeed the property of the visitor when he/she exits the workplace or site again?
- Employee responsibilities: Should your employees challenge unescorted strangers who aren’t wearing the proper identification? What will the correct approach be when an intruder has been identified? What will happen if employees violate this policy or observe violations but do not report them?
- Emergencies: What will happen in case of an emergency? Who will be responsible to look after visitors during such events? What will you do if a visitor gets injured on site?
I’m sure that you will be able to add many more issues that can and must be addressed in a Visitor Health and Safety Policy and I will appreciate if you will take the time to contribute to this list above by posting in the comment section below.